Friday, April 16, 2010

Minor Notes

AAA
Michael Kirkman was ok in his start over 5. Jason Cole was at the game and tweets that he had trouble commanding his secs but that his fastball was 92-94 in the first. Command of secs will be Kirkman's big project for the year as that was his primary area of weakness in Frisco last year. No updates on the progression of his changeup over his first 2 starts; this is probably project #2 for the kid. He also reports that Peguero's slider was very impressive over his 2 innings getting 4 strikeouts (but with 2 walks). Lefty Clay Rapada continues his strong start, getting 2 strikeouts in his shutout inning. OMar Beltre rebounds from his last rough outing with a scoreless inning.

Chad Tracy continues to pound the ball with 2 more extra base hits (8g/.343/3db/1trp/3hr/8rbi) but with 0 walks. His splits are even to start the year. Smoak has been terrific early, showing a nice balance of power and patience that he was unable to lock in last year (8g/.333/2hr/2db/5rbi/.250vslhh/.400vsrhh). He has 9 walks to 3 strikeouts (8bb to 0so vw RHH!). Ramirez has heated up (.333) while Moreland missed his second straight game.

AA
Richard Coeur de Bleier wielded his dominating sinker with mixed results (5.2/8/6/1/2/2h) getting an amazing 13 groundouts to 1 flyball mixing in 5 singles, a double and 2 solo HR. The jury is still out on this kid: can he develope at least one pitch that misses bats whether his slider, change, or possibly a future cutter (though guys with sliders as their second pitch seem less often to add cutters). Matt Lawson is batting .435. Lemon is still MIA.

HighA
Main had an ok start over 5 innings (5/5/4/2/2). He had fringy FB command after the first inning throwing a lot of balls along with 2wp and 1hbp. His velo continues to be down from 2008 continuing a trend from 09 but ck back at mid-season (he flashed 93 in the first in this outing and may be sitting 89-92ish). Over his first four (per firebats chart at lsb)his CB was not very good in this outing either when he threw them (only ~7: 2cs, 1ss, 3b, 1hbp). He may have thrown a few changeups but the play by play guy failed to note any; he will need a fringe ave changeup by the time he reaches AA. Main was mainly FB in this outing and was less groundball efficient than his first outing (6go/6ao). The Main/Hogan combo also allowed an astonishing 6sb (6-6) in this outing and given Hogans catchability and arm strength, you have to think that Main was the culprit. Definitely a work in progress and anyone who anticipated a quick promotion to AA will have to wait until August it seems.

Fabio Castillo was effective in his 2 innings while Adalberto Flores lost his command in his second inning of work. Mendonca has 3 doubles 0 walks and 8 strikeouts in his first 6 games (.208). I'm one of the only ones that considers Mendonca a future Ave-AA major league regular (low ave, big power/prod, plus defense) but I believe his breakout year will not be until 2011. Patience grasshopper. Paisano is batting .526 with 4 xbh and 3sb in 6 games. As I mentioned in a previous post, Paisano's excellent performance in the advanced Venezuelan winter league could be a harbinger that he has indeed turned the corner. Hopefully he sees AA by mid-season. Beltre is batting .174 with zero walks and 4so in 6 games (.111 vs rhh). Eric Fry made only his second appearance (both at dh). He is likely only holding a spot for Bianucci when he returns from a groin injury.

LowA
Jared Prince continues to heat up with his 5th xbh in 6 games. The Spokane coaches loved this kid last year. As a late draft pick college senior, the club wasn't sure what they had in him initially. He proved to be very coachable, made some adjustments and had a fine year. His ceiling is likely a very productive org guy but the system needs more guys like Prince to put together winning ball clubs at each level. Velazquez continues his hot start notching his 4th and 5th doubles in 7games though he's batting only .176 vs RHH. Leury Garcia is batting .300 to start the season though his primary weapon still seems to be the bunt while his fielding remains inconsistent (2 errors on throws in this game). Garcia also started quickly over the first 3-4 weeks of 2009 but flailed away at a .200 pace the remainder of the year. Shortstop Easy Eddie Garcia is batting .400 while mainly playing 2b (as long as Leury is on the club) continuing to impress with his defense. Of the Hickory Garcias, Easy Eddie is the much better prospect.

Font, Erlin, Tullis and Lueke had nice outings. Font's game was more impressive than his line (4.2/7/3/1/6/1hr). His fastball sat 94 for most of the game, touching 97. His control was fine (he has only 2bb so far) but most of his hits came off his fastball despite the velo as he had some trouble commanding the pitch in the zone. Watch out when he gets angry too: he struck out the side swinging after giving up a leadoff homer in one inning. The announcer said that his curveball looked really good in this outing. IF Font's CB shows good improvement this year (consistency, command) he might end up starting in AA to begin 2011. The pxp guy also said that he believed that Font's changeup also looked to have improved quite a bit. This is a bit surprising given that it was supposed to be pretty good already.

Erlin continued his dominance throwing 2.1 scoreless innings with 6 groundouts and one ball hit out of the infield touching 93. Those groundouts really interest me as a guy with swing and miss stuff who gets lots of groundouts is ideal. A poster over at LSB noted that the pxp guy said the coaches thought that Erlin's debut (2ip/5so) was one of the most dominant they had seen in some time. JAson Cole said that he was 89-92+93 in that outing. Tullis worked a clean inning with 2so while Lueke managed to notch 4so in his inning of work. Lueke is working in LowA this year after missing most of 09 due to his legal issues where he was pitching in HighA after pitching 61 innings their in 2008. Ignore his line until the 25yo gets promoted to AA. Only then can one properly evaluate him. He did have a nice year in 2008 but gives up too many hits, particularly vs RHH.



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